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Darwin Correspondence Project

From W. Baranoff and Heinrich Koch   27 October 1871

Der Psychologische Verein zu Dresden.

27. Octbr. 1871.

Honored Sir,

Great Champion in the war of mind!

As you see from the concluded advice, we are reading some lectures on “descent of man”, and have spredd in this town without any restraint or altering your mighty ideas.1

In the last lecture we shall try to view the world from the point of Darwinism, and to make out the principles, which must have a Darwinist on future life, God (as a creator of “materie”) and so on.

That task is very difficult; but the price is worth the task, as we shall win by this those numberous good men, who do shrink back from your ideas, because they think, a Darwinist must be base and godless!!

We shall plead for a God’s action in the world, by fully maintaining your principles. Of course, that “God the creator” which we shall teach will be quite another being, as taught by the priests.

We beg you in the name of the good cause to help us and to tell us some of your thoughts on this point. Surely you are more clear than we on this point and it will be easy to prove, that a Darwinist may be as good a religious man as any other. In your “descent of man” is said little on this point; there could be, it is our humble opinion, somewhat more.

The this days newspapers contain many amusing articles against us, written by the counterparty.

We should be happy, if we might receive an answer; and, if you will be so kind, to add a small photography, in order to have a likeness of you. In our books “the species” and the “descent of man” there is no portrait, whilst in the fifth german edition of the first book is added your portrait.2

We present you our love and regard and are, expecting an answer, | Yours | Dr. W. Baranoff, | Heinrich Koch.


Baranoff and Koch’s lecture series was entitled ‘Die Abstammung des Menschengeschlechts und damit zusammenhängende Fragen’ (The descent of the human race and additional related questions) and was published in Blätter des Psychologischen Vereins zu Dresden, 27 October 1871, pp. 73–85, 10 November 1871, pp. 89–103, and 31 December 1871, pp. 105–14; there are lightly annotated copies in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL. The first part bears an English postmark, ‘NO 20 71’. It seems that the dates of the issues are the dates the lectures were given, for at least the first one, not the date they were published (see letter from Heinrich Koch, 31 October 1871).
The most recent German edition of Origin, the fourth (Bronn and Carus trans. 1870), was translated from the fifth English edition; the fifth German edition (Bronn and Carus trans. 1872) had yet to appear. On the portraits included in the second and later German translations of Origin, see Correspondence vol. 15, letters from E. Schweizerbart’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 24 January 1867 and n. 3, and 22 March 1867 and n. 8. No portraits appeared in the English editions.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Origin: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1859.


Correspondents are giving public lectures on Descent. Would like CD to supply a statement of his religious views for inclusion.

Letter details

Letter no.
W. Baranoff; Koch, Heinrich
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Psychologische Verein zu Dresden
Source of text
DAR 160: 39
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8032,” accessed on 17 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 19